The Milgram Experiment

Stanley Milgram (1961) was interested in why millions of Germans blindly obeyed orders that resulted in the mass slaughter of millions of Jews during WWII. One theory at the time was that Germans were different to people of other nationalities in that they were more likely to have a personality type that makes them defer to those of higher authority (the Germanic Personality). Milgram tested his technique by carrying out a pilot study in the US.

Ethical Issues in Social Influence Research

This article examines the ethical issues that arise when conducting social influence research, as specified by the AQA-A specification. The ethical guidelines do, however, apply to any psychology research conducted by members of the British Psychological Society.


Theories of Obedience: Milgram's Agency Theory

Following the results of probably the most famous study in the history of social psychology (The Milgram study), Milgram developed his own theory of why people will obey a malevolent authority.

According to Milgram, at any particular time a person is in one of two psychological states:

Working Memory (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974)


Baddely and Hitch believed that the STM store in the Multistore Model was too simplistic: they thought that short term memory was not a passive store, but several active processes that manipulate information.

Atkinson & Shiffrin's Multistore Model of Memory

Atkinson and Shiffrin's Multistore Model of Memory suggests that there are three separate memory stores, Sensory Memory (sometimes called the 'sensory store'), Short Term Memory (STM) and Long Term Memory (LTM). Each store has a different duration, capacity and mode of encoding (the way that information is stored - e.g., visual, acoustic, semantic).

Evaluation of the Learning Theory of Attachment

On the positive side, the learning theory of attachment seems a plausible explanation of both how babies become attached to their caregivers and how caregivers bond with their children.

Bowlby's Evolutionary Explanation of Attachment

John Bowlby's explanation of attachment was strongly influenced-by the research and theories of ethologists such as Konrad Lorenz who investigated imprinting in geese.

Bowlby reasoned that attachment serves a biological purpose: to keep parents nearby so that infants are protected from danger.

What is Attachment?

Attachment can be defined as:

"...the strong, affectional tie we feel for special people in our lives that leads us to feel pleasure and joy when we interact with them and to be comforted by their nearness in time of stress" (Berk, 1998).

The Learning Theory of Attachment

Behaviourists argue that all behaviours, including attachment behaviours, are acquired through learning and that learning takes place through the processes of classical conditioning and 


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